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wilma's avatar

Is this romantic or creepy? Please tell me what you think about something I found today.

Asked by wilma (15773 points ) February 7th, 2011

I dropped some things off at Goodwill today and while I was there I looked around, I often find books that I want. Today I found The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran.
Inside the front cover in cursive handwriting, was an inscription. Here is what it says:

“R” (I don’t even know your name.)

I can only imagine the sweetness of your kisses or the sensuous warmth of your breasts, but I’ve seen the laughter in your eyes and have felt the warmth of your smile.
In knowing you
— I have met woman.

A fan,

W.

In the bottom corner of the page was also written:

Have a happy one!

My first thought was that it was incredibly romantic. But if he (or maybe she?) doesn’t even know the woman’s name, is it creepy?
I also wonder how the book was given? was it wrapped and gifted in person? was it left to be found by the woman? What about the choice of books, The Prophet?
What do you think? And how would you feel if this was written to you?

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64 Answers

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

Creepy. It sounds like a stalker. Regardless of the book.

picante's avatar

I love this—it’s creepy and romatic! I can only imagine, given the “Have a happy one!” note, that W. must have known it was R’s birthday, or perhaps he was giving this as a Val Day gift. I am quite befuddled by W. not not knowing R’s name. Maybe R. wore a name tag that only had her first intitial???

The creepiness for me is the sexual reference—had I been R. in this situation, that would have left me feeling pretty weird.

I have written so many little notes in books that I’ve given as gifts, and they are bound to be cryptic (maybe romantic and maybe creepy) to the finder. But I will say that I’ve always known the person’s name.

@papayalily just declared it creepy—yeah, that gets my vote too.

janbb's avatar

Maybe I’m in a sappy mood right now, but it sounds romantic to me. However, that’s in fantasy; it probably was creepy to the recipient.

choreplay's avatar

The reference to breast puts into the creepy category. What’s sad is sometimes someone is trying to be romantic but is uncouth and says something stupid. Could be either, but I would tell my daughter to air on the side of caution.

wilma's avatar

I was also thinking that the “breast” reference made it creepy if he didn’t know her name.
It is a mystery though isn’t it?
I keep wondering about the people involved, did they become lovers, I wonder?

wilma's avatar

@ladymia69 That was a great site!
Yes I should submit this.

XxSHYxxGUYxX's avatar

the breast reference made it creepy…

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

The breast part is actually not what made it creepy for me (although it does ruin any lingering chance of romance). The creepy part is that he feels that he knows a woman, and has now known Woman from a gal he’s never even said hi to. How can you know someone without knowing them? That’s not addressed to an actual woman but rather an ideal of a woman, a fictional character.

flutherother's avatar

It doesn’t sound creepy to me. We are all so suspicious these days.

sliceswiththings's avatar

I think it would be 100% romantic if it weren’t for the kisses and breasts part, but as it is, it is definitely a little creepy. A PG rated note from a stranger would be totally romantic!

aidoom7's avatar

Romantic!

gorgeousgal3's avatar

That became borderline disgusting and stalkerish.

6rant6's avatar

The key phrase is “unwanted”, right? If she liked it it was romantic; if she didn’t, it’s creepy.

Maybe she met the guy in passing at a coffee and tea place and he left it for her because he left town the next morning.

Maybe she took blood from him and he came back and left it for her. If she didn’t like it – it was creepy.

I appreciate that women are conditioned to regard things as creepy for their safety’s sake. But sometimes, it’s okay with both parties to take some liberties. You just gotta know when!

I’m going to infer from the fact that it ended up at at Goodwill and not the land fill that she found it at least marginally okay.

Or perhaps even sadder and more romantic, he decided at the last minute that she might be upset by the gesture.. and so he was the one who gave it away.

wundayatta's avatar

You know, I think people have gone stalker crazy. I mean, a serial killer just can’t even get to first base before the cops are all over his ass like a mouse on a glue trap.

Ok, ok. Bad taste. These things happen sometimes.

But I am serious that I think people are overreacting to a few cases of bad behavior on various people’s parts. What is that move… Fatal Attraction? How many other movies have a similar theme? It’s become a founding myth of contemporary society and that has blown it much bigger than it should be.

I think the real issue is that, “No means no.” Women hear all these stories about date rapes and the date rape drug and they see the activities on college campuses and they think men are out of control. If men are out of control, then their thoughts are out of control. If their thinking is out of control, then their minds are always heading in dangerous (for women) directions.

A warm breast? That creeps people out? What is the world coming to?

Ellis1919's avatar

Call me crazy, but I think this was a completely romantic and sweet gesture from “W” to “R” whether she read it or not. Perhaps more so if she never read his inscription.

bkcunningham's avatar

I think the book was left in R’s mailbox where the letter “R” was either her first initial on her mailbox or the letter of the box where she received her mail in her apartment house. They have only met in brief moments at the mail drop, in the tiled lobby or in the bustling street outside their apartment house.

“W” was leaving for war and wanted to tell “R” of his admiration for her smiles, her eyes and how he will dream of “woman” as he imagines the sensuous warmth of her breasts as he lays wet and dying in a fox hole. He gave her his words and a message of living by Gibran..

Her grandchildren donated the book when they found it after her death.

Either that or he was a seriel killer stalker.

VS's avatar

I think it’s terribly romantic… and the reference to the sweetness of her kisses and warmth of her breast is a reference from the book, I believe. I don’t think he was a stalker or anything ominous… he was just a simple man who expressed his appreciation for her beauty in the only way he felt he could. He says he was a fan, and he didn’t sign his own name either, so it was likely very harmless. I just sooo want to believe in the good in people and not all instances of wanting to get to know someone are toward nefarious ends.

aprilsimnel's avatar

Somebody’s horny! Ha!

wilma's avatar

I am imagining they they spent some wee bits of time together like @bkcunningham imagines.
That they saw each other many times but never met. Perhaps she wore a monogram or an initial pin?
As I hold the book in my hands, it doesn’t give me a feeling of something sinister.
I want to believe that it was the beginning of a love story, or at least a fond farewell.

Supacase's avatar

It is interesting. I want to believe it is not creepy and wish I knew the story behind it.

bkcunningham's avatar

@wilma can you tell if the writing is a ballpoint pen or a fountain pen? A fountain pen makes it even more romantic to me. How is the penmanship? Is it printed or cursive? Does the writing look old?

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

I consider it romantic and bold. If such conduct is repeated without a favourable response from the recipient, it would be creepy and stalker behaviour.

wilma's avatar

Although the book was written in 1923, this is an1996 edition.
@bkcunningham it looks like ball point pen and the “Have a happy one!”
looks like an afterthought, maybe with a different pen.
I might try to scan the page so you all can see it, but I’m not sure how to put it in a post.

Brian1946's avatar

@wilma

“I might try to scan the page so you all can see it, but I’m not sure how to put it in a post.”

After you scan the page, you can upload the image from your computer to an image hosting site, such as http://www.tinypic.com/
Once your image is uploaded, the site will give you a link to your pic that you can post here.

There are also other sites, such as Photobucket.

The_Idler's avatar

Odd, Unusual, not particularly romantic, to be frank….

Not creepy. Creepy is saying “I want to do this or that to you…”
This is just a guy, telling someone how they made him feel when he saw them… It’s a tad over-the-top, but not scarily so.

Plenty of people “believe” in “love at first sight” or something similar…

Plenty of people have probably had the experience this fellow had,
some of them had the nerve to approach the other person,
some of them never did, and were tortured by it,
and still some others were caught in-between:
managing only to send an anonymous note, just because they wanted to honestly tell someone about the amazing effect they’d had on another human being…

Being suddenly blown away by a total stranger? Happens to us sometimes…
I don’t think there’s anything sinister in being totally honest about it,
the whole thing is more sad than scary…

6rant6's avatar

I knew a guy who followed a girl home from high school for three months – always at a distance. She saw him doing it.

One day, he approached her and said, “I don’t want any other boys walking you home from now on.” I believe that was the first time they’d ever talked.

She was my grandmother and he was my grandfather. They were married for 64 years – until he died. She lived another 22 years and never had a serious relationship again. Of course to be fair, she was really old at that point.

So yeah, even stalker stories can have happy endings.

bkcunningham's avatar

@6rant6 what a beautiful love story.

josie's avatar

My favorite quote from The Prophet is “Half of what I say is meaningless”
Maybe W liked that part too.
Obviously W did not want R to know his name either

bkcunningham's avatar

@josie maybe he was married and had dreams of being POTUS one day and didn’t want the potential scandal to wreck his dream.

Judi's avatar

Someone who doesn’t even know my name is totally creepy if he talks about my breasts. That conversation is reserved for those whom I have given some indication of permission too. I understand why it ended up at Goodwill. If it had been me it probably would have ended up at the police station or at least the fireplace.

6rant6's avatar

@Judi I’m with Judy. Any stranger who even mentions that I HAVE breasts better be ready for trouble.

wilma's avatar

Here is the inscription.

The_Idler's avatar

Yes, because we all know sex doesn’t exist until you lock the door, close the curtains and turn off the lights…

OHMYGOD— a man thought about breasts, how bizarre and unnatural! WHATEVER THE FUCK NEXT!?

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@6rant6 @wundayatta I understand the idea that the world has gone a bit stalker-centric, but I don’t think this is an example of that. I’m actually of the belief that many of the things we consider to be romantic are actually really creepy and toxic. There are certain parts of this that just go too far – Had it said something like “I can only imagine the radiant warmth of your hugs” or “the tantalizing stimulation of your intelligence” instead of the “the sensuous warmth of your breasts” that would be different. One is showing that he wants a safe, cozy, whole partner while the other is showing that he wants a mindblowing fuck. Even more than that, he’s claiming that by seeing this woman, he’s experienced the numinous – putting your SO so far up on a pedestal that they are the Representative For Their Gender or even a deity isn’t how you have a healthy relationship.

bkcunningham's avatar

@wilma thanks. That makes it real to me.

Since we may never know the truth, I’ll keep my romantic notion. BTW, I don’t mind that a stranger would think those thoughts about my breasts. I think it is poetic and romantic.

The_Idler's avatar

“Sensuous warmth of your breasts” sounds more like ‘safe & cozy’ to me than ‘mindblowing fuck’...

they didn’t say they wanted anything (let alone a mindblowing fuck), that is what would make it creepy. They’re just talking about how this person made them feel…

KhiaKarma's avatar

I think it can be hard for a man nowadays to be romantic and sensuous. There is a thin line. I think it’s kinda hot.

TexasDude's avatar

Ew, ew, ew, ew.

The_Idler's avatar

It is weird. It seems somewhat outdated.

I think if it were 120 years old, noone would be complaining.

I also suspect that if it was for a girl, who found out it was a beautiful, sweet, caring but shy man, everything also would become magically acceptable.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@The_Idler I think if it were 120 years ago, he’d be hunted down and flogged – men and women weren’t even allowed to hold hands until they were married, and women were still property.

The_Idler's avatar

@papayalily urrr yeah… maybe wherever you’re from! =/

Maybe they can burn him at the stake, right after the local teenage witches…
“get your corn-dogs now, in time for tonight’s All-American double-bill exxxxxecution!!”

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@The_Idler 120 years ago is the Industrial Revolution. Witch burning is Early Modern.

The_Idler's avatar

@papayalily
Right, so you see how ridiculous my post is?
That is how ridiculous your post is.
That was the point.

wilma's avatar

@bkcunningham Yes, since we will probably never know, I choose to think of it romantically as well.
It was donated in a small town where there is a small, private, rather prestigious college.
My thoughts are that whoever donated the book was not “R” or “W”. I doubt if the person who left the book, even knew that the inscription was inside. Maybe “R” fell ill and died and those who cleaned out her home and donated her possessions didn’t realize what the small book that they took from the drawer in her nightstand contained. sigh

bkcunningham's avatar

@wilma I like how you think. Would you like to trace the book back and find out the true meaning of the writing? I would, even if it turned out that it wasn’t the story I’d formed in my head.

My dad, who is 91, required we always put names and dates on photos so others who may happen upon them would know something about the person in the photo. I suppose even photographs like that are a lost art now with so many photos stored on computers and phones and other gadgets.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@The_Idler I can’t tell your tone of voice over the internet

bkcunningham's avatar

@Fiddle_Playing_Creole_Bastard is that the sound from Psycho? lol

janbb's avatar

It sounds like a Nicholas Sparks novel to me.

wilma's avatar

I could probably do some investigating, ask the lady that works there if she knows if they have had any more of those kind of books come in.
This particular “store” is not a Goodwill store, but that same idea. It is supported by a church in the area and they also get donations from the college and community at large. I may go back and do some checking; look in some of the other books, I might find an “R”.

twothecat's avatar

I think it’s sweet and sensual, and if I got that, I’d be very curious who gave it to me. Even so, I’d be very careful in case it was a nutter.

BarnacleBill's avatar

It sounds like people who have met repeatedly in some place where you’re arranged in alphabetical order. Perhaps two grad students who work registration every semester? She’s always working the R’s, he has the W’s? He wants to impress her that he’s literary, she gave the book away because she thinks he’s creepy….

Earthgirl's avatar

Ok, some people are going to think this is total bullshit, but I’ve done some studying of graphology ie handwriting analysis. I am not an expert but there are some pretty standard markers of analysis that are not difficult to pick up and that I feel comfortable explaining. First of all the person was almost certainly an introvert. That is shown in the backhand slant of the writing. Secondly W had a healthy libido, but he was no pervert. He was more likely a sensualist. That is shown in his large lower loops which are rounded. There are some loops which are incomplete which means he may have not always followed through on these impulses (thwarted sex drive) Sounds kind of clinical when I write it out like that and I prefer Wilma’s and bkcunningham’s romantic notions. Just looking at the writing overall I feel confident they are correct. The signs of violence, perversion and aggressive sexuality are not there. So Happy Valentine’s Day everyone. From W!

bkcunningham's avatar

Well there you go. Thanks @Earthgirl . Very interesting.

Earthgirl's avatar

Thanks to you wilma for scanning it in. It made it so much more real.

wilma's avatar

Thanks @Brian1946 for helping me put the scan up there.

@BarnacleBill, I like your scenario as well, but if it was me and I was creeped out by it, I would have somehow removed or scratched out the inscription before giving the book away. I would not have wanted that to be “out there”.
What about you other women? or men?
If you wanted to get rid of it because it made you uncomfortable, would you have left the message intact in the book?

@Earthgirl I like your analysis, thank you for that.
I was thinking how ironic that I found this just in time for some romantic Valentines day pondering.
Now I’m wondering if I have ever met R or W? I live in a rural area and that is very possible.
Perhaps I know one or both of them.

janbb's avatar

Now I really want to know about R and W. I think she was a reference librarian and he a regular patron. He knew she liked pop philosophy but he had a serious illness and had to go to the hospital for a long time. One the last day before he left, he slipped the wrapped book on to her desk…..

yankeetooter's avatar

I didn’t read all of the above responses, so I may be repeating what others have said, but…it’s a fairly standard thing for people to use other’s first initials if they don’t want to write their full name for privacy’s sake, so I don’t think that the author of the note was in the position of not knowing the recipient’s name. I have to wonder, though, at how much the recipient thought of the author of the note, if the book ended up at Goodwill…

wilma's avatar

Yes @yankeetooter , either they didn’t think much of the giver, or the recipient wasn’t the person who gave the book away.
and
@yankeetooter welcome to Fluther!

WestRiverrat's avatar

That kind of depends on the recipient. I think R whoever she is found it creepy. Otherwise she would not have given it to Goodwill, if she found it romantic she would have kept it.

wilma's avatar

I just found this question again, I had forgotten about that book.
I got it off my bookshelf and looked at it again.
The mystery continues…

bkcunningham's avatar

I enjoyed this discussion.

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